Some folks think that the only time Jesus got angry was when He cleansed the temple. That is not true. There was at least one other time that He was incensed.

In John 11, Jesus learned that his dear friend, Lazarus, had died. As with any death, there was unspeakable sorrow. There were tear-filled eyes and sorrow-filled hearts. Groans came from somewhere deep down in the souls of those who loved him most.

Try to imagine the following scene as Jesus met the sister of Lazarus, Mary. Imagine her quivering, contorted, tear-stained face as she was still trying to understand that her brother really had died and was never coming back. The deep ache in her heart cannot be described. It can only be experienced by those who have suffered such a deep loss.

John 11:32-36 (New Living Translation)
32 When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33 When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled.
34 “Where have you put him?” he asked them.
They told him, “Lord, come and see.”
35 Then Jesus wept.
36 The people who were standing nearby said, “See how much he loved him!”

In the New Living Translation, it says in verse 33 that “a deep anger welled up within him.” In other translations, it says that He was “deeply moved” or some other such thing. The words in the original language (Greek) speak of a strong emotion that could be labeled “indignation.”

So, why did Jesus get mad? He’s in the presence of people who are hurting deeply. Anger seems completely out of place … until we reflect on WHY He was angry.

Jesus wasn’t indifferent to the suffering around Him. In fact, John 11:35 tells us plainly that “Jesus wept.” His heart went out to those people. He wasn’t grieving for Himself or Lazarus. He knew that Lazarus was in Heaven and having the time of his life! Why did Jesus weep? Because He saw the hurt all around Him. He was moved to grieve by seeing and hearing the heart cries of those around Him.

So, we see that He grieved. That’s extremely appropriate when spending time with a family who has just lost a loved one. But, why did He get angry?

The reason that makes the most sense to me is that He was angered at sin and death. In that moment, He saw his friend, Mary, experiencing unspeakable grief and it was because she lived in a sin-sick world. She was experiencing such sorrow because she lived in a world that was so far below the joy of the Garden of Eden. There was no death and no sorrow before Adam sinned. But, when Adam sinned, death and unspeakable grief were the result.

Romans 5:12 (New Living Translation)
“When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.”

So, the dear people that surrounded Jesus were weeping because the world in which they lived was broken. It was sin saturated and death was the result. Jesus was looking at the result of a broken Creation and He was angered.

If I could be so bold as to try to identify what Jesus was thinking, I imagine He would have thought something like this: “This wasn’t how things could have been! They could have enjoyed My presence in the utopia that I called the Garden of Eden. They could have eaten of the Tree of Life and never experienced death. But Adam sinned and blew it for everyone! And as I look around me and see what sin did to my perfect Creation, I’m furious!”

Jesus didn’t come into our world to experience frustration, though. He didn’t come to throw His hands up in despair at how badly sin had wrecked His Creation. He came as a conqueror on a mission that He would accomplish, even if it meant His death … and it did.

He came to conquer sin and death! When He died on the cross and rose again, He administered the death blow to sin and death! As we place our faith in Jesus, we can be completely forgiven of our sin. Sin will lose is its stranglehold over us. And one day, we’ll live forever with our God.

1 Corinthians 15:57 (New Living Translation)
“But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

This is the Good News that we celebrate even as we reflect this day on Jesus’ Crucifixion.